Lisa Markwell: Waiting game that's a new experience for children

FreeView from the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

The waiting is almost over. By the time you read this it might be over. The results received; the path decided upon. But at the time of writing, it's still about the waiting.

Yup, GCSE results day is *of importance* in the Markwell household. The past two months (to say nothing of the past five years) have been leading up to this point. My son's right to privacy precludes me from going into detail about how things might look after 10am this morning, but what has been fascinating is the process of waiting.

Children's idea of waiting is opening a door on the advent calendar, the delay until Christmas sweetened each day by a square of chocolate. Otherwise it's birthdays, broken down from the day after the last one into small increments ("I'm eight and two-thirds"). Generally what children have to wait for is good. It is only now, at 16, that they must face waiting for results in the same way that adults do, anxiously.

That's a hard lesson – that results aren't always the ones you want, or expect. That there isn't always the reward of the presents under the tree after 24 days of folding back cardboard doors. Indeed, without any tangible reward to get their hands on tomorrow (apart from a piece of paper) it was never going to be easy for the majority of children, who aren't naturally studious, to sustain a sensible combination of patience and expectation.

I had plenty of time to think about waiting while I made an unscheduled stop in the A&E department of St Mary's Hospital in London on Monday. What I thought would be a reassuring once-over that would take perhaps an hour and end with a letter for my GP turned into an epic 14 hours. Most of that time, once the initial pain that has sent me there had receded, was spent waiting for the results of tests.

With no battery life on my phone, no book and no one to talk to, the wait seemed interminable. After I'd rearranged my handbag (amazing how you can spin it out if you shuffle your credit cards really s-l-o-w-l-y), I drifted into that twilight zone where the outside world disappears. Like a teenager vacantly playing a computer game, I idly watched the comings and goings of patients in the Clinical Decision Unit. But I could never quite get the thought out of my mind that with the next swing of the ward door could come some unwelcome news for me.

And this morning comes the educational equivalent of a doctor holding a buff envelope with a scan in it. Welcome to our world, kids, where results are greeted with relief, not because of the outcome, but simply because the wait is over.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Data Insight Manager - Marketing

£32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux, Redhat, Solaris, SAN, Puppet

£55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, WPF,BLL, MSMQ, SQL, GIT, SQ...

Data Centre Engineer - Linux / Redhat / Solaris / Puppet / SAN

£65000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A financial software vendor at the forefro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Silhouette of clubber dancing Hacienda nightclub  

A comedian has opened an alcohol-free nightclub. Is he having a laugh?

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
A doctor injects a patient with Botox at a cosmetic treatment center  

Why do women opt for cosmetic surgery when there is such beauty in age?

Howard Jacobson
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape